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February 24, 2021

[CITIES] Sustainable cities for a sustainable Japan

Euronews, 19 January 2021
More than half the world lives in urban areas, but in Japan 92% does. This creates challenges in terms of sustainability, but Japan has found a solution: It's using the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to create new kinds of cities, smart cities.
You don’t need to be a megacity to be a smart city. In Japan, smaller communities are also using ground-breaking technology, like the Internet of Things and big ideas like the sharing economy to become more sustainable.
Two Japanese eco-towns
Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town was built on the site of an old Panasonic factory. This new community is home to about 2000 people. Every house is equipped with solar panels and smart monitoring systems. They enable residents to track their energy consumption both at home and on a community-wide level.
According to residents of the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, seeing the figures for yourself has a big impact, it encourages you to be more careful about your everyday eco-friendly actions.
To reduce C02 levels, residents can also win rewards for good green deeds. They are also encouraged to cycle and share electric vehicles.
Unlike other tech-centric smart city projects, in Fujisawa residents were the first consideration.
Planners laid out a 100-year vision and took into consideration every aspect of life: energy, security, mobility, wellness, community, even emergencies.
Arakawa Takeshi is the General Manager of the CRE Business Development Group for the Panasonic Corporation. He says the city has environmental and energy objectives "linked to CO2 reduction, water savings, renewable energy use and, most importantly, a recovery plan in case of a natural disaster." They have made sure the city is autonomous in electricity and food for three days.
18 organisations worked together to deliver the project.
As the need for a healthy and prosperous life-styles increase in the world, and notably in China, the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town is gaining recognition as a pioneering case study in Japan.
The Yixing smart city project, in Eastern China, drew on the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town's concept of lifestyle-based urban development. It was especially inspired by the town's development and management. The Yixing smart city project was well-received. All the houses up for sale in the first phase were sold out immediately.
Another Japanese eco-city is Kashiwanoha. The town’s powerhouse is revolutionary. Its smart grid facility includes one of Japan’s biggest lithium-ion storage cell systems, as well as solar and emergency gas-powered generators.
The grid is overseen by the town’s Smart Centre and can respond immediately to a power shortage, becoming autonomous for three days.
Its unique energy management system was designed after the town experienced a blackout following Japan’s March 2011 earthquake.
It has also helped reduce peak power consumption by over a quarter.
Dr. Eng. Deguchi Atsushi, Professor and Vice-Dean of the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at The University of Tokyo, told me that Japan is building smart cities based on a Government concept called "Society 5.0". He describes the core idea behind the smart cities concept as being "people-centric" or "human-centric". According to him, Kashiwanoha isn't just "introducing the latest technology", it's ensuring "locals can master it to build a place where everyone can feel happy".
Working together
The Urban Design Center is the place local residents can find out about their smart city and bond as a community. Citizens can participate in workshops related to cities of the future. One resident described the workshop he joined in Kashiwanoha as a "collaboration between the residents and the region."
The centre also serves as a hub for the partnerships between the project’s different stakeholders from the public, private and academic worlds.
For Japan, the key ingredient to the success of the smart communities of tomorrow is collaboration.
Learn more at:https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/11/sustainable-cities-for-a-sustainable-japan

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February 20, 2021

Power of Procurement: Nordic Cities declare joint statement on demand towards fair, circular smartphones

As major consumers of smartphones, the cities of Malmö, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki are challenging the market with a joint statement of demand outlining their vision towards fair and circular smartphones by 2025.
The statement comes as 9 points of actionable ambitions such as
• By 2025, we are tendering with harmonised criteria and clauses that push for fair and safe working conditions and environmental sustainability across the entire supply chain including raw materials extraction, manufacturing and delivery stages as well as at repairing, reuse, recycling and disposal stages of smartphones and its components
• By 2025, we work with resellers and suppliers on the actionable increase of transparency of the supply chain and end-of-life, including locations and conditions of production. This will be possible also in hardware-as-service agreements.
• By 2025, we aim to establish processes, internally and in collaboration with suppliers and resellers, to collect 100% of smartphones at the end of life with a view to find a second-life, reuse or remanufacture all smartphones where possible. The remaining smartphones should be recycled, critical raw materials should be safeguarded and as many materials as possible should be reused and recycled for new devices.
• By 2025, we can apply certification and worker-driven monitoring to contribute to circularity, environmental and social responsibility supported by regular dialogue for continuous improvement.
The joint statement has been developed under the European project Make ICT Fair over a period of six months including several internal and external feedback loops. The Nordic Forum for Market Dialogue on 25th November 2020 was one of the opportunities for discussion and reflection on the statement in collaboration with representatives from suppliers and resellers, as well as relevant third-party organisations. The market engagement event, opened by Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö, has proven to be a highly valuable tool to strengthen cooperation between the relevant stakeholders. The dialogue emphasised that the ambitions of the statement can be achieved only through collaboration.
"As public buyers we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to take social, environmental and economic aspects into consideration in our procurements. As chair of Procura+ Europe, the city of Malmö is pleased to collaborate with other public buyers such as with the City of Oslo, City of Helsinki and Municipality of Copenhagen. Together we share a vision towards fair, circular smartphones by 2025. We hope that with this statement of demand we can find workable solutions to the sustainability challenges we face together with suppliers and resellers." Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö
From now on, the Joint Statement is open to other public authorities who support the ambitions. Pooling demand and sharing ambition between public buyers will create a collective power that will help ensure fair and safe conditions for workers as well as to create a market for circular solutions. The statement is supported by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Electronics Watch and the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. If you are interested in learning more and to support the statement, please contact Josefine Hintz (josefine.hintz@iclei.org).

Learn more at one planet network news center.

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February 8, 2021

New video from UNEP on sustainability and circularity in the textile value chain

Following the recent launch of its report on Sustainability and Circularity in the Textile Value Chain, UNEP has released this short video showcasing the main findings.
More than 300 million employees work along the textile value chain and according to one source the sector accounts for approximately 8% of world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report aims to map the textile value chain to identify key environmental and socio-economic impacts (‘hotspots’) along the value chain stages and takes stock of existing initiatives working to address them. It then identifies priority actions needed to move towards a more sustainable and circular textile value chain.
Read more at One Planetnetwork News center

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